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Gregory Nazianzen the Theologian On Pentecost (Oration XLI), Complete

Translated by Ch. Browne and J. Swallow.

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It is uncertain to what year the following Oration belongs. It was, however, certainly delivered at Constantinople; the Benedictine Editors think in the year 381, in which case the day would be May 16. An indication tending to establish this date is found in c. 14, in the expression of apprehension of personal danger to himself for his boldness in setting forth the true faith. In fact, in the earlier part of this year, after the Emperor Theodosius had put him in possession of the Patriarchal Throne, vacant by the expulsion and deposition of the Arian Demophilus, he had narrowly escaped assassination at the hands of the Arians.

The Oration deals again with the subject of the Fifth Theological Oration, the question of the Deity of the Holy Ghost, but proceeds to establish the point by quite a different set of arguments from those adopted in the former discourse, none of whose points are here repeated.

The Preacher begins by commenting on the various ways in which Festivals are kept by Jews, by Heathen and by Christians. Then he remarked on the mystical significance of the number Seven, which he illustrates by several instances; and next proceeds with his principal Subject.

God the Holy Ghost, he says, completes the work of Christ. Those who regard Him as a Created Being, as did the followers of Macedonius, are thereby guilty of blasphemy and impiety. The true Faith recognizes Him as God; and this belief is necessary to salvation; yet some reserve must be employed in applying that Name to Him. We must indeed insist on the recognition of His possession of all the attributes of Godhead; and we must at any rate bear with those who, like the Orator himself, also give Him the Name of God, which he hopes all his hearers will receive from the Holy Ghost grace to do. Then he proceeds to shew from Holy Scripture that in fact all the Attributes of Deity do belong to the Holy Spirit; and that His distinctive Personal Mark is that He is neither Unbegotten like the Father, nor Begotten like the Son. He does not touch on the question of the double Procession.

It would seem from some expressions in c. 8 that this Discourse was not delivered to his usual audience, but to an Assembly of "Religious."

The Title of the Oration varies in different mss. Thus some have it "Of The Same On Pentecost," to which one adds "And On The Holy Spirit;" and another puts it "Of The Same, a Homily on Pentecost." The printed Editions before the Benedictine have "On The Holy Pentecost."

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